Much as saxophonist Euge Groove did to gather a built-in following for his smooth jazz recording career, this inventive, lyrical new age electronic composer hit pay dirt with hundreds of thousands of MP3 downloads before releasing his indie debut. The most appealing songs here -- the swaying groover "Night Wind," the hypnotic and percussive "Secret Garden," and the graceful, acoustic, piano meditation "Letting Go" -- all held the Number One spot for their genre on the website, and with good reason. At his best, Ryan Farish embodies all the ethereal melodic joy of Keiko Matsui, blending whimsical piano melodies with easy machine beats and the subtle "whoosh" of a synthesized wind. Some have compared his music to Tangerine Dream, but his music is lighter and lacks the rock edges, preferring clever percussion patterns and floating atmospheres. The one drawback is that we can tell it's all self contained and low-budget. One wonders how much more emotional power he could have if he used live musicians and alternated the machine drums with real ones on occasion.
by Jonathan Widran